By Rebecca Drew
MEET the super fit mom who transformed her tired post-baby body into a lean muscle building machine which includes a spectacular post-baby six pack.
Incredible pictures and video footage show fitness coach, Melissa Alcantara (32) from New York, USA working hard in the gym to hone her impressive physique.
Melissa weighed 14st at the end of her pregnancy to daughter Isabella in 2011 and was down to 12st 7lbs before starting her fitness journey.
Bodybuilder Melissa overhauled her diet by swapping pizza, donuts and fizzy drinks for balanced meals packed full of lots of protein, carbohydrates, healthy fats and vegetables. Melissa eats between 1700-1900 calories a day and weighs 9st 9lbs.
“I woke up one day, so tired of being tired. I just didn’t want to feel the way I did anymore,” said Melissa.
“I hated how I felt in my skin, I was tired all day, I ate rubbish that I knew wasn’t good for me. I had to make a change.
“I used to eat out every day, pretty much every meal. When I didn’t eat out I ordered in, it was completely normal for me.
“Pizza spot down the block, walk to Dunkin’ Donuts, have somebody pick me up a bacon, egg and cheese and chug that down with a soda or juice and of course I’d have something sweet afterwards.
“I can’t tell you how happy I am to not be that person anymore, exercise was non-existent, I’d run from time to time, like every two weeks and give up.”
Melissa works out six days a week and focusses on resistance training, high intensity interval training (HIIT) and low intensity steady state cardio (LISSC) with calisthenics. She runs an online fitness programme with her husband, Victor.
“I do what I love every day by helping people achieve their own goals in not only fitness but in life and I feel amazing about it,” she added.
“Eating well and exercise both leave me with a feeling of wanting to do more and to be more.
“I get boosts of energy, drive and motivation, I’m just happy.
“I’ve learned so many things about nutrition over the years, I used to think that weight loss had more to do with cardio than with nutrition itself.
“For one, I’ve learned to eat real food, in the past I would eat very small amounts and stay away from carbs because that’s what was marketed to the public.
“Ninety-five-percent of the meals I eat are home cooked and are cultivated and harvested meaning that they don’t live in a box. I eat lots of veggies, root veggies, wholesome grains, meats and fats.
“Before I would eat about 2500-3000 calories a day of crappy fried or processed foods which were full of calories but no substance or nutrients, basically empty calories, so I never felt satisfied.”
According to Melissa, mental attitude is the most important thing for sustainable weight loss but admits she struggled at first.
“In the beginning, it was things like meal prep and getting up in the morning to work out, once my body got used to that the real difficulties started setting in,” she explained.
“The hardest part is plateauing and not knowing what to do next, thinking you’ve done everything possible but not seeing the results you want in the amount of time you want is disheartening but you have to push through.
“The mental focus to move forward although you don’t see immediate change is the hardest part.
“My advice is to set realistic goals, something small like losing ten pounds in a month, making three out of my four meals, eating out only once a week, drinking so and so amount of water a day. Each week adding a small goal.
“Start with nutrition, have a fitness plan and commit. Be consistent, have patience, be honest with yourself and don’t give up.”
For more information see www.instagram.com/fitgurlmel